Emmet McDonnell loses Offaly dual battle with Brian Whelahan

Hurling boss doesn’t believe players can play both codes in this day and age

Offaly aren't the only county to be left duelling over some dual players ahead of the championship, although for now it seems football manager Emmet McDonnell has lost the battle with his hurling counterpart Brian Whelahan.

It was originally agreed that McDonnell might get to share players such as Shane Dooley, Seán Ryan, Conor Mahon, Colin Egan and Dan Currams – who would be considered hurlers first, and yet equally capable of throwing their weight behind the footballers.

“We were sort of hoping that would go ahead,” says McDonnell, “but Brian had other ideas. And look, I get on well with Brian, but he felt that they had to concentrate on one sport, unfortunately.

"During the winter months the likes of Shane Dooley, Colin Egan, Dan Currams and Conor Mahon all trained away with the football team, and they thought they had the opportunity to play both. But I think Brian, when it came close to the league, just wanted them to concentrate on just one sport. Maybe there'll still be an opportunity. I know Dan Currams was very upset that he didn't get to play both codes. Dan was doing a good bit with us, but we'll see how the summer goes."

For Whelahan the decision was a little more straightforward, in that he doesn't believe it's possible to play both codes come the league or championship, at least not at the required level.


“We just found ourselves in a situation where, number one, it’s very hard to do the two,” says the Offaly hurling manager. “At one stage it could have been the bones of about six players overlapping . . . And to be fair, at the time, we had quite a number of injuries too, so to have players divided in two, on top of your injuries, just wasn’t working out.

“So it came to a head not long before the start of the league . . . We just felt at that stage we had to make a call, and the players came in with the hurlers . . . quite a number of those players had been injured so they hadn’t even been training.

“We didn’t have them for the first round anyway, but we were looking to later in the league, and the way the fixtures were working out, some games were going to be played the day before we played league games, and I think there was one clash. That’s not good enough either so we felt we had to make the call.”

The Offaly hurlers are not out in the Leinster championship until June 7th, when they travel in Nowlan Park to play Kilkenny, while the Offaly footballers are out on Sunday week, May 18th, when they travel to Longford.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics